girl standing in front of brandywine falls

Brandywine Falls Hike (with Directions to the Bottom)

Brandywine Falls is a MUST-SEE on your trip to Whistler or your drive along the Sea to Sky Highway. This massive, 70M waterfall carved a natural canyon in the surrounding rocks and makes for an epic day-trip from Vancouver and is a classic example of what makes British Columbia so special!

The two of us have visited this spot twice; once where we enjoyed the view from above in the summer, and the second time we adventured down to the bottom of the falls in the Spring for an up-close and personal experience of Brandywine Falls. If either of these adventures sound epic to you, continue reading for our guide to Brandywine Falls & directions to get to the bottom!

How to get to Brandywine Falls

Click HERE to open the map in Google Maps!

Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is 18KM south of Whistler and is well-marked off of the Sea to Sky Highway. From Vancouver, it will take about 90 minutes on the road and 105KM. It will be an obvious stop off of the most scenic highway in Canada (in my opinion)! Check out BC Parks for up-to-date visitor information.

Parking at Brandywine Falls

We have 2 parking options to share with you to get to Brandywine Falls. The first is the most obvious, as you’ll pull into the parking lot for Brandywine Falls Provincial Park and you’ll find plenty of parking available. This parking lot DOES get extremely busy in the peak summer season, and you may find yourself waiting for someone to leave and a spot to become available. There are washrooms available at this spot and picnic tables surrounding the parking lot for you to stop and enjoy some lunch.

What if the Parking Lot is Closed?

The parking lot at Brandywine Provincial Park DOES close after a certain amount of time. Another important factor to note is that this parking lot is closed in the Winter all the way until Springtime and it re-opens in May. The hours of operation are 7AM to 11PM, and anytime between then the gates will be closed and you will not be able to park in front of the gates.

I want you to know that if you try to park in front of the park gates on Highway 99, you have an EXTREMELY HIGH chance of getting your car towed. There are tow trucks that patrol the area and they have no problem removing multiple vehicles that park in front of these gates. We visited in April when the gates were closed and noticed about 6 cars left in front of the gate, and when we drove past 10 minutes later there was already a car getting towed away. They are very serious about this!

Lucky for us, there is a way to get around the parking dilemma when Brandywine Falls is closed. From the Brandywine falls parking lot, you will continue down Highway 99 for about 10 extra minutes until you turn right for Whistler Bungee. The road is a bit rough, but nothing your vehicle can’t handle. They have a parking lot underneath the bridge and outhouses available.

From here, you’ll cross over the bridge and follow the path. It will add an additional 30 minutes to your hike, but you should know that the additional hike is really straightforward and easy. You’ll be following a dirt road path with very little elevation, if any. This trail will bring you to the train-tracks that are on the same path as the Brandywine Falls trail. This additional trail will bring your hike to a total of 5.8KM out-and-back.

Brandywine Falls Trail

The trailhead to Brandywine Falls is located steps away from the parking lot and close to the washrooms. This hike is only a quick 1KM and will take you 10-15 minutes to complete the entire route. You’ll start by crossing over a covered bridge that takes you on a nice walk through the forest, over some train-tracks, and led towards the massive 70M waterfall. You’ll notice signs directing you towards “falls lookout” and you’ll want to follow this route and keep to the right.

You’ll quickly reach the viewing platform and be mesmerized by the huge waterfall and the massive canyon carved out around the falls. The view is really incredible and the viewing platform makes for the perfect spot to admire Brandywine Falls. I should note that there are 2 really nice spots to view the falls, and the second one is our favourite.

By following the trail further, you’ll be led to another lookout of Daisy Lake and the surrounding mountains. It’s definitely worth it to continue your walk all the way to the end of the trail, and I believe the final lookout gives you some fantastic views of the area. However, if you’re feeling extra adventurous I’m here to share with you the directions to get to the BOTTOM of Brandywine Falls, and experience the waterfall up-close. Continue reading!

Directions to the Bottom of Brandywine Falls

The trail to the bottom of Brandywine Falls starts where the official Brandywine Falls trail ends. You will reach the end of the trail where you overlook the scene of Daisy Lake and the surrounding mountains, and notice that there is a fence to let you know the trail ends here.

This hike will take you an additional 30-45 minutes each way. Since it is an unmarked trail, I’m not certain about the length and it may take longer to climb down the boulders. First things first, you will be hopping over this fence to your left and CAREFULLY follow the well-worn trails along the side of the cliff. Seriously, don’t get too close.

Follow the Markers!

As you continue to follow the trail along the cliff-edge, you’ll start to notice that the cliff turns into a large rock-pile. You need to choose your path carefully, as there is a certain rock pile about 5-10 minutes down the path that starts to look like natural stairs to lead you safely down the rock-piles.

From here, you’ll continue to follow the path until you see an orange or pink marker hanging on a tree that hangs over some large boulders. You’re going to carefully climb down these boulders. There’s only about 5 big boulders to climb down so it doesn’t take long before you’re back on the path. We brought our dog and carefully carried her down this section.

At the base of these boulders, you’ll continue to follow the markers to the path on your RIGHT. You’ll be following these orange and pink markers through the forest and the trail will be very obvious and packed-down. You’ll also know that you’re on the right path because you have to climb over a large fallen log. As you get closer to the falls you will be following the creek upwards and start to hear the rushing water!

The rocks on this trail and leading up to the falls are very slippery so I do want to warn you to make sure you have your good hiking boots on. Our visit was in the middle of Spring during a week full of Vancouver rain, and we still had a fantastic time. Brandywine Falls is epic at every season, but there’s something special about chasing waterfalls in the Spring. You’ll follow the exact same route to get back to the parking lot, and the way back was much easier and quicker for us.

DISCLAIMER!

As I’m writing this blog, I’ve heard from others that people could be fined for taking this route because it is not an official trail of BC Parks and it can be very dangerous. I have to admit that we truly did not see any signs that warned us about the potential fine in May 2022. If you are not a confident hiker, do not have proper hiking boots or shoes with proper grip, or are prone to accidents then I would not recommend this hike to you.

When is the Best Time to Visit?

In my personal experience and opinion, the best time to visit would be in May and continue into the summer months. It is a lot more enjoyable to be able to park your car in the Brandywine Falls parking lot which opens in May, and you’re still able to enjoy the Springtime experience of the rushing waterfall after the snow melts.

I also recommend visiting this park in the Summer, even though the parking lot will definitely be busier and you’ll notice a lot more people visiting in the summer. We made sure to arrive early at 7AM when the park opens and we enjoyed the trail and falls mostly to ourselves. If you arrive closer to Noon you may find the parking lot to be full with families.

Final Thoughts

Brandywine Falls is a MUST-SEE on your trip to Vancouver, to Whistler, and the perfect stop along the Sea-to-Sky highway. It is an iconic landmark of British Columbia and the short & quick route to the viewing platform makes it an accessible sight for everybody to see. Dogs are welcome on this trail, and kids will really enjoy this walk through the forest.

If you choose (at your own risk) to hike down to the bottom of the falls, I hope that our instructions help you safely find your way down and make it an enjoyable experience too. The views and photos we’ve taken from this hike are incredible, and by providing directions we’re able to reduce the risk of harm to the environment and to fellow hikers!

As always, make sure you respect the outdoors and locals of the area, dispose of your trash properly by packing out what you bring in, and support local businesses! Please leave me a comment if our directions helped you find your way to the top or bottom of Brandywine Falls, and if you’d recommend it to a friend. I’m always happy to answer any questions or comments left below!

Check out more from Vancouver, Whistler, and the Sea to Sky Highway:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prev Post

girl riding bike into the sunset on cox bay tofino

3 Days in Tofino: Our Weekend Trip-Planning Itinerary

May 8, 2022

Next Post

What to Bring on your Day Hike: Gear Guide

June 10, 2022